The Definitive Guide to Installing ASCOM Platform 6.1

Tags: ASCOM, installation, howto, software

  Lots of people get confused when installing the ASCOM platform, particularly with the .Net Framework as Microsoft’s versioning scheme is quite confusing. Here are the facts I have pulled together from my own experience and various sources into what I hope will become the definitive guide to installing ASCOM Platform 6 and the .NET Framework.

In all cases, your operating system must be at the latest service pack(1) and up-to-date via Windows Update. As at the time of writing, that means:

  • Windows 10 RTM (build 10240)
  • Windows 8.1: RTM (no service pack available)
  • Windows 8: RTM (no service pack available)
  • Windows 7: Service Pack 1
  • Windows Vista: Service Pack 2
  • Windows XP: Service Pack 3

If a later version is available to that shown above, use the later version.

ASCOM 6.1 introduced a new requirement to have .Net Framework 4.x installed, however it still needs .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 installed for legacy/backward compatibility reasons. You must have both versions installed, but how you achieve that depends on your version of Windows, as follows:

  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 contains all earlier versions down to 2.0. There is no need to install any previous version.
  • .NET Framework 4.5.2 (the latest version at the time of writing) contains all previous versions down to 4.0 . You only need one version of .NET 4.X.
  • On Windows XP, you need to download and install both .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and .NET Framework 4.X (latest compatible version only). Note that some obscure editions of Windows XP are not compatible with .NET 4.0 and therefore are not compatible with ASCOM either.
  • On Windows Vista, .NET Framework 3.0 is preinstalled and should be updated via Windows Update before downloading and installing .NET Framework 4.0.
  • On Windows 7, the .NET Framework 3.5.1 (3.5SP1) is preinstalled and is a part of the operating system(2). Do not attempt to install any downloadable version of the .NET Framework 3.5 on those systems. Ensure that Windows Update has fully updated it before downloading and installing .NET Framework 4.X. 
  • On Windows 8, both .NET Framework 4.5 and .NET Framework 3.5.1 are preinstalled and are part of the operating system, do not attempt to install any downloadable version of the .NET Framework 4.X on those systems(2). However, on these operating systems the .NET Framework 3.5.1 is disabled by default and must be enabled manually as shown below in footnote 2.
  • On Windows 8.1, both .NET Framework 4.5.1 and .NET Framework 3.5.1 are preinstalled and are part of the operating system, do not attempt to install any downloadable version of the .NET Framework 4.X on those systems(2). However, on these operating systems the .NET Framework 3.5.1 is disabled by default and must be enabled manually as shown below in footnote 2.
  • On Windows 10, both .NET Framework 4.6 and .NET Framework 3.5.1 are preinstalled and are part of the operating system, do not attempt to install any downloadable version of the .NET Framework 4.X on those systems(2). However, on these operating systems the .NET Framework 3.5.1 is disabled by default and must be enabled manually as shown below in footnote 2.

After any installation, upgrade or configuration change to any version of the .NET Framework, ensure your system is up-to-date via Windows Update. Windows Update is the best way to install and stay up to date with the .NET Framework.

Finally, you can Install ASCOM Platform 6.1. There is no need to uninstall previous versions – this one installer contains everything you need; it will install as a clean install or over the top of an existing install.

Footnotes:

(1) If you are unsure which service pack you have installed, use the start menu to run winver.exe. and read off the service pack level from the position shown below. If no service pack is listed, none is installed.

(2) In cases where the .NET Framework is preinstalled with the operating system, check that the required versions are present and enabled as follows:

  • Do not attempt to download and install the framework.
  • Instead, go to Control panel, Programs (or Add/Remove Programs) and select Turn Windows Features On or Off.
  • In the dialog, make sure that .NET Framework 3.5.1 (on Windows 7) and .NET Framework 3.5 (on Windows 8) are enabled. It is not necessary to enable the HTTP sub-options but you can if you want to. After doing this, you must also use Windows Update to install any additional updates.

Links:

Windows XP Service Pack 3: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322389

Windows Vista Service Pack 2: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935791

Windows 7 Service Pack 1: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/976932

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=22

Windows Update: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

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